Watkins Leads Women’s Soccer Attack to 5-0 Victory Over Whitman

Adrianna Vera
Adrianna Vera

CHICAGO — The University of Chicago women's soccer team opened the 2018 season with a win on Friday as it controlled affairs throughout a 5-0 victory over Whitman College at Stagg Field. Two goals from junior Hanna Watkins and a pair from first-years making their intercollegiate debuts provided the impressive scoring tally.

The hosts came out of the gate firing as sophomore Claudia Hodgetts saw her first-minute strike palmed just over the bar. The Maroons continued to dictate the course of play in the opening minutes, monopolizing possession as sophomore Katie Jasminski provided relentless pressure up the right flank. 

Whitman's committed defending held off several promising chances, but it was not until the 19th minute that the visiting Blues took possession into the opposition half.

At the half-hour mark, a scramble in the box almost put UChicago in the lead three times in short succession, but a reflex save, goal-line clearance, and secure hands from the Whitman goalie kept the ball just out of the net.

The 37th minute brought another near miss as senior Madison Navarro powered a strike from the top of the box only to watch it thud off the crossbar.

Moments later came the breakthrough as first-year Tabitha Bishop slipped the ball ahead to Watkins, who chipped a lob over the keeper to score UChicago's first goal of the season. Watkins also scored the final goal of last season, an early strike against The College of New Jersey that put the Maroons through to the NCAA championship match. 

The second half promised more of the same as UChicago looked to build on its 1-0 advantage, but in the 51st minute, Whitman sparked a brief counterattack with a long ball over the top. In her first action of the game, junior keeper Katie Donovan broke up the dangerous play but absorbed a blow while battling for the loose ball, which eventually ricocheted off the post and out of bounds. Donovan left the game as fellow junior Sydney Jones replaced her in goal.

The Maroons responded immediately to the close call. Racing up the right side, Jasminski sent in a ball that the Whitman keeper could only push away in the direction of junior Adrianna Vera. The forward hit a clean half-volley that caromed off the left post, then collected her own rebound and slotted it home to give UChicago a two-goal lead.

First-year Peyton Jefferson posed a constant threat to the Whitman defense in the second half with a series of darting runs from the left wing. Her efforts paid off with a goal in the 64th minute. As Watkins lifted the ball across the box, Jefferson came streaking in and buried a right-footed volley into the bottom left corner.

A few minutes later, another goal came from a textbook corner. A well-placed ball from first-year Anna Kenig-Ziesler found a leaping Watkins for a clear header and the fourth Maroon goal.

Another first-year, Adriana Shutler, capped things off with a pinpoint free kick in the 73rd minute. From just a step outside the box, Shutler wrapped the ball along the ground, skirting a five-person wall and finding the bottom right corner of the net. 

Having spent much of their energy in defense, Whitman mustered a lone attack in the 80th minute, but Jones collected the rolling shot with ease.

UChicago finished the day with 27 shots, as a few excellent saves prevented the Maroons from further additions to the score line. The Maroons also led corner kicks 12-0.

Sophomore Miranda Malone earned the win in goal over the course of nearly 69 minutes. The trio of goalkeepers only saw one shot on goal in the contest.

NEXT MATCH:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 4 @ 5:00 PM (ET) – UChicago at Kalamazoo College